Pastor Sues Church over $6.25M Retirement Package He Alleges Was Promised – UPDATE!

Editor’s Note: This is an older story, but was not covered by us at the time it happened, and is worth writing about for posterity in a simplified version so we can use it as a reference. This is the saga from start to finish.

“Pastor” Ron Carpenter has resolved his legal dispute with his former church after years of public infighting with “Pastor” John Gray, the result of a successful arbitration that sees him returning to the state to plant a new church.

Carpenter was the pastor of Redemption Church in South Carolina for decades until he decided to move to California to take over as the lead pastor of a new church – the 14,000-member Jubilee Christian Center, which was to be rebranded as Redemption Church version 2.0.

As a part of this transition, he handed the reigns of his megachurch to John Gray, who rebranded it as “Relentless Church.” Gray is a former associate pastor at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church. He left there and took over the church in 2018, moving into a $1.8 million mansion “parsonage” paid for by the church. This is quite prescient, as ironically the only thing he has been “relentless” about is cheating on his wife while staying employed and wearing expensive clothing, making the news frequently for one scandal after another.

In taking over the church, the Grays agreed to take over all debts, which included nearly 9 million dollars on the church sanctuary and 4 million on the Imagine Center gym, with the church building carrying a monthly mortgage of nearly $70k dollars.

After some time, Carpenter was dissatisfied with how things were going both in his new church on the west coast as well as back home. He alleged that Gray was being “shady” and “dishonest” by missing mortgage payments and not paying his bills. As a result he initiated a suit to evict him from the property. Gray contests this, saying he was not being shady and has paid everything, including $500,000 in upgrades to the sanctuary.

One of the conditions for Gray taking over the church was that it had to be rebranded so that Carpenter could take his “Redemption Church” brand with him. Although this was done, Carpenter says that he was also promised a retirement package from the church he was leaving, which totaled $6.25 million dollars. If the transition was successful, he was to have received annual payouts of $250,000 for 25 years, along with being gifted a retirement property in an affluent neighborhood. This was not being done and he filed suit in order to be paid. [Editor’s Note: Have you ever heard of that happening? Being paid millions to hand over a church?]

As a result, they publicly bickered back and forth, as well as brought suit after suit against each other. [Gee, that’s not a violation of Christian ethics at all. See 1 Cor. 6:1… -Ed.]

In October of 2020, the two men finished the legal disputes between them and pledged to end the public feuding after undergoing a successful mediation process, settling their differences once and for all and bringing an end to the disturbing and shameful saga.

Carpenter moved back to South Carolina to establish a new church, one branded “Redemption Church” that is filled with ex-members of the now “Relentless Church,” which was dissolved in the botched transition. He had over 1000 people attend the first service and claims at this point he is interested in mending fences and putting everything behind them.

Gray for his part is happy that it is over, announcing plans to expand the “Relentless Church” brand with a couple of nearby church plants and has indicated that he wishes for reconciliation as well.

[Editor’s note: This is not a church, and these are not Christians. These men need to hear and respond to the real gospel of Jesus Christ, in which Christ died in the place of sinners according to the Scriptures to pay for our sins, and rose again to show that not only were they paid for, but that He had broken sin’s power in our lives. Until that happens, you have a nice, big, fat, comfy goat herd.]

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